Category Archives: WRITE A JOURNAL OR BLOG

Thoughtarrest technique for Panic Attack

THOUGHTARREST…. WHAT?

Thoughtarrest is my way of examining and evaluating my thoughts. It is not something that I came up with but thoughtarrest is my term for it. You will agree with me that panic attacks, Generalised Anxiety Disorder(GAD) or plain anxiety can paralyze you.

THOUGHTARREST
THOUGHTARREST

This thoughtarrerst has not only helped me with my panic attacks but it’s use and understanding has had a big impact in my life.

The inspiration is from : 2 Corinthians 10:5 King James Version (KJV), Bible Gateway:

“and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

WHY MUST YOU ARREST YOUR PANIC THOUGHT?

The Police will arrest someone for a few reason: To prevent that person from doing more harm, to investigate the person and to bring that person before a court of law.

Now why can't we do that with our panic and anxiety thoughts!

Just imagine how wonderful it will be if you could arrest your Panic thoughts before they made your life a living hell! Many of us have wasted hours, days or even months on panic and anxiety thoughts.

Here’s the deal.

Imagine the thought…… You know the normal panic stuff like: I’m having a heart attack, I’m going to faint, Do I have a dreadful disease? Why is there a lump in my throat, is it even a lump? Isn’t it something worse? Is my heart going too fast? Is it going to slow?…..

Did my heart skip a beat, is it in rhythm, when will it go out of rhythm again, what about a stroke, what type of arrhythmia is this, will I be able to handle a cardioversion or ablation, can I be cured?

Ok! enough of that, you get my drift.

These type of thoughts are horrible! and they can kill a moment, a day, event or peaceful setting.

Now just think how glorious it would be if you could make a thoughtarrest on that panic thought and first investigate it before it makes a mess in your head and life!

These steps are a mixture of CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy)CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and my own experience with panic attacks.

4 STEPS BEFORE YOU DO A THOUGHTARREST.

1.Keep on breathing!!

Do not stop breathing because you want to count your heart beats. Is it just me or do you also hold in your breath and start “feeling” and counting your heartbeats?
With AFIB, or other type of arrhythmia, some sort of panic is usually not far away.

It’s enough to deal with AFIB, but panic and anxiety just make thing worse.

How fast is it going now, am I going to make it, is it going to fast?

Sometimes the shock of a panic attack is so sudden and paralyzing that we forget to breathe, and then we start to take faster breaths and then it does not feel enough and then we take even faster gulps of air!

Rather concentrate on taking deep full breaths. If you are laying on your back you must see your stomach going up and down with every breath.

Breathe less and you go into STRESS! a panic stress.

2.Don’t fight it accept it!!

I do not say accept it as the truth, but rather bringing it closer to see what this fear is made of, and how bad it is.

My attitude was. OK panic bring it on let’s see what you’ve got.

This can be like a light you put on in a room, and see that the monster does not exist!

3.Use your Victoryvault.

Build a victory bank or victory vault and remember any victories you had over panic. Even the smallest victories can help you build this victory bank.

Quickly go to that bank and see all the times that you have overcome a panic attack.

Write it down. Sometimes you are so struck by panic and anxiety that you do not even remember that just last month you had a panic attack, and guess what… You did not die or have a heart attack.
Just a week or so ago you got a panic attack but started breathing, went for a walk, talked to somebody and the panic went away.

USE IT! if you get another panic attack.

4.Muscle relaxation!!

Tense and then relax all the muscle groups, one by one, you can start from your feet up to your head or the other way around. This can take up to 20 minutes or you could just do a quick 5-10 minute exercise.

 How will this help you?

Steps 1-3 can be taken in a matter of seconds. It gives you the opportunity to think about what you are thinking.

Then it’s your chance!

Do a thoughtarrest. ⇒
  1. Do not deny or suppress the thought.
    This step is similar to the, do not fight it step, mentioned previously but with this one it’s more about investigating or dismantling the thought. Look deep into what you are really fearing  in the thought or symptoms you are experiencing.
  2. Write it down, or talk about it.
    When you write down your thought you “capture” it. Write down how bad it is or was. Don’t sugarcoat it! Even if the idea of writing it down scares you, write it down. It not only helps at that moment but also when you reflect on your panic and anxiety later. You may then see it was irrational.
  3. Write down a “better” statement.
    If you get thoughts of “I cannot breathe” rather write down “I feel as if I cannot breathe but I am”. Or just write down “I am breathing” although everything inside you yells “I’m not getting in enough air”. The two statements should not be too far from each other.
  4. Unmask and expose the false thought.
    Now that you have your panic attack or anxiety thought pinned down on paper you can expose it as false and not real. It may be that you still have the thought of “I cannot breath” or “I’m dying”, “I’m going crazy”, “I’m going to faint” or “I’m having a heart attack”.
    Now you must evaluate them and give yourself the true facts about them!
    You’re still breathing
    You did not die
    No! way! I’m not crazy
    I did not faint – Yes it felt like that but I did not.
    I did not have a heart attack(Although many people have a heart attack and still lead a normal life afterwards).

Do not give up hope! Keep on doing a few thoughtarrests and you will see that your panic thoughts start to grow weaker and even go away. Some may be more difficult to arrest but keep at it!
I find that the Word of God – The Bible gives me the hope and inspiration to go on and helps me affect an arrest on an unruly thought.

There is also two other important habits that help with killing panic and anxiety:

Be in the habit of eating healthy.

Do regular exercise.

I hope and believe that the  thoughtarrest technique will help you in fighting panic and anxiety.

Do make a comment, subscribe.

Which step are you going to try first?
Which step worked for you?

 

CAN A JOURNAL HELP YOUR HEART ARRHYTHMIA MANAGEMENT?

HEART ARRHYTHMIA MANAGEMENT
HEART ARRHYTHMIA MANAGEMENT

HEART ARRHYTHMIA MANAGEMENT THROUGH JOURNALING?

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that dealing with AFIB or any palpitations is actually a type of heart arrhythmia management. People that have had some experience with AFIB know that the end of it is not always the end of it. The promise of a cardio version or even an ablation may not be the final word on your arrhythmia.

HEART ARRHYTHMIA MANAGEMENT
HEART ARRHYTHMIA MANAGEMENT

That is why journaling may be one of the best ways of heart arrhythmia management for you. And the best part? you can start it here and now!

You can actually improve your heart palpitations management by writing more about what your heart is doing, and what you are doing. On Newlifeoutlook I read a very interesting article written by Eric Patterson on how  journaling can help you cope with AFIB. Thanks to his article I have yet again seen what the benefits of journaling are especially in heart arrhythmia management, and how I have applied it in my life.

Thanks to his article I have yet again seen what the benefits of journaling are especially in heart arrhythmia management, and how I have applied it in my life.

WHAT CAN JOURNALING DO FOR YOUR HEART?

The two main benefits mentioned in his featured article are very important. He mentions that a journal (this can be your own website or blog) can help with data collection and stress reduction.
How can you actually use this?

DATA COLLECTION

My own experience with heart arrhythmia management is that I wrote down how I felt, what my pulse was, what I ate or drank and what I have done that day. I did not keep a daily journal, but I did keep it most of the “out off sinus” times.

With journaling, you will be able to tell your doctor what really happened, and stop “thinking” what happened and why. It is like your own personal heart arrhythmia management checklist.

Some of the most important things to jot down is the following:

HOW AND WHEN

How and when did your heart go out of rhythm? This is not just important for future correction of “trigger habits” but also of utmost importance to your doctor. This information will help him make the decision to cardiovert immediately or not.

The shorter the time span that your heart has been out of  rhythm the greater the possibility that the doctor can give you a cardioversion.The chance of your heart “converting” back into normal sinus rhythm is then also bigger. The other variable that the doctor must take into account is the possibility of a blood clot, this I discussed in STROKE PREVENTION.

TYPE OF EXERSICE

In my case, this has been very important. Some exercises have been documented as not being very rhythm friendly to me. I play much less squash (racquet ball) now. During a normal squash came I noticed that my heartbeat went up to 190 beats per minute like a flash! With cycling, it took me a while to get it up to about 160 b/m and it did not go up much more than that. Running was sort of in the middle of these two sports.

The nature fo squash is just that you chase a ball, start and stop, and most of the times (well for me) I do no not think about what I’m doing to my heart, but just chase the ball.

Exercise is very important for any heart! Find an exercise that you enjoy, that is heart friendly.

SLEEP ….. zzzzzzzz  

Track how many hours of sleep you have had the night before. The type of sleep that you had is also very important. Lack of sleep can have an influence on the heartbeat rate and rhythm of your heart.

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Alcohol is a stimulant! The impact that alcohol has on every person will differ. Most people drink alcohol for the stimulant effect, but it is actually classified as a depressant. Note the type of alcohol that you drink and the volume

Note the type of alcohol that you drink and the volume, in your journal (if you can remember?!*%$). It is also important to know the alcohol content or percentage in each type of drink.

I drink light beer and red wine, but some afibbers have to stay away from alcohol altogether.

CAFFEINE   ⇓

There is a big debate about coffee and how it can or might affect your afib. Do your own research with your journal at your side. You can even go so far as to mention how big the scoop on your teaspoon was.

Coffee is only one place where caffeine lives. When writing your journal, and having to take note of what contains caffeine you make be surprised. Look for the phrases “added caffeine” , “energy drink”, “psyched up” or “wired” and look at the amount of caffeine added.

If you are an afibber be careful of caffeine! It is the most commonly used drug in the world today, according to MNT (Medical News Today).

Use Rooibos Tea as an alternative.

STATE OF MIND

Where you stressed out when your heart went out of rhythm, or was it just after a stressful period that your ticker went out. Stress can be an  important factor in your heart arrhythmia management journey.

The benefit of a journal is that it can help paint a better picture of what your stress levels were during a specific time. This is not always that easy to understand if you just have to rely on vague memories.

Something I have found is that during a specific stressful time in my life, I really feel that pressure and can pin that down in a journal. Just thinking back and seeing a positive outcome, the stress does not seem that bad. You have the benefit of looking into your mind during that “stress time” if you put it down in words.

With the thoughtarrest technique, you must also write down your emotions and fears.

PEOPLE, PLACES AND SITUATIONS

Need I say anything about this? Writing down your PPS palpitation triggers may not be news to you, but it is good to get it out!

TIME OF DAY

My heart rhythm has never gone out while I was sleeping (and most of the times during the day). I know of other people that mostly go out of sinus (NSR) while they are sleeping.

This is important information that your doctor must know, to try and establish what your triggers are. That’s not all……

WRITE A JOURNAL OR BLOG
WRITE A JOURNAL OR BLOG

STRESS REDUCTION

This is the “soft” side of heart arrhythmia management that is not so easy to explain or measure. You can see writing as your own stress release therapy. The stress reduction part of writing your journal is aimed at emotional and confidence building.

Some of the reasons I believe writing your journal will reduce your stress levels are:

THE BEST PART!

YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!

Your journal confirms that your doctor was right. Afib is not life threatening, but you have to take care of yourself and monitor what your heart is doing. Celebrate life by writing down how good it feels to be alive, even if you may still be in afib…..there is hope!

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

You can describe to yourself what really happened during an afib attack. Try to make sense of how things happened. Where you scared, relaxed agitated or indifferent about the whole AF thing.

WHAT SHOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

We all know that feeling. Man, I should not have done that! Sometimes you are guilty. Take stock of what and why you drank too much coffee, over trained or stressed too much. Identify what could have been a trigger and figure out what you are going to do differently.

GETTING IT OUT!!!!

This one is wonderful and liberating. Only afibbers know how it feels when the life gets sucked out of you, that kryptonite that takes away supermans power. Yes, that’s how it feels. It’s good to get it out and onto paper, sometimes scary. It also seems more real when it is on paper or on a computer screen.

COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

It may help you to communicate your symptoms and feelings better to a family member or doctor. This is very important with heart arrhythmia management. We have all heard or used explanations like, flopping fish in my chest, racing heart, a hard heart beat, changing gears heart, it beats and then when the next beat must be there it’s not, skipping beats.

And that is just the heart! We have not even begun to describe the symptoms yet. In many cases, your doctor must make a call on how to treat you based on your description of your heartbeat and your symptoms. He may not have any hard and fast data to work from. Write your own STORY ON A BLOG

If you have paroxysmal afib (occurs sometimes and then stops by itself) or ectopic heartbeats (extra or skipped heartbeats) it may take your doctor a while to pick them up.

READY FOR TOMMOROW?

Plan for tomorrow by thinking how to cope with a possible skipped heartbeat, or symptoms that you experience from being in afib, or getting an afib attack. Try and take the shock and panic away from a sudden skipped beat.

TIME TO REFLECT

Be thankful that the thing you thought was a fatal heart attack, was a treatable thing like afib. Concentrate on all the positives and opportunities. Doctors may sometimes only give you the worst case scenario, it is their work to tell you what can go wrong.

Reflect on how it could have been worse.

Read stories of people that have overcome this afib thing, and why not write your own story? Start your own blog.

HOW TO START YOUR OWN BLOG?